Motives for the assassination of Imam al-Baqer (peace be upon him).

The scholar Sheikh Baqir Sharif Al-Qurashi mentions in his book (The Life of Imam Al-Baqer, peace be upon him), that Imam Abu Ja’far (al-Baqer), peace be on him, did not die a natural death. Rather, some sinful persons, who did not believe in Allah and the hereafter, poisoned him. As for the reasons that led the Umayyads to assassinate the Imam (peace be upon him) are as follows:

  1. The Imam’s high Character

Imam Abu’ Ja‘far (al-Baqer), peace be on him, had the highest character in the Islamic world. Muslims have unanimously greed on his high character. They have admitted his outstanding merits. All Muslim religious scholars from all Muslim countries came to him to learn his sciences and his morals. For the Imam learned that from his grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.

The Imam, peace be on him, possessed the sentiments of the people. Thus, they admired and respected him. For the Imam was the most prominent figure in the family of the Prophet, Allah’s prayers be upon him and upon his Household. Hence, the Imam’s high social rank displeased the Umayyads. Accordingly, they decided to murder him to get rid of him.

  1. The Events of Damascus

Among the reasons that moved the Umayyads to kill the Imam, peace be on him, were the events the Imam faced in Damascus. These events are as follow:

  1. Under the reign of Hisham, Imam al-Baqer was summoned to Damascus. The tyrant Hisham had been plotting to curtail the positive influence and prestige of Imam al-Baqer. Hisham knew that his corrupt supporters could not challenge the Imam’s knowledge or piety, so he planned another type of challenge. Hisham attempted to surprise Imam al-Baqer with an archery match. The match would surely portray the elderly Imam in a humiliating position – or so the tyrant thought.

“O Mohammad, hit the target, along with the chiefs of your people,” ordered Hisham. “I am too old for archery, perhaps you can excuse me,” replied Imam al-Baqer. Hisham insisted and would not take ‘no’ for an answer. Imam al-Baqer was handed a bow and arrow. He then aimed at the target…The Imam hit the target on the bullseye. He took another arrow, released it…and split the arrow! As the Imam continued to amaze the spectators, Hisham was extremely frustrated – this was happening in Hisham’s very own court.

After exchanging some words, Imam al-Baqer responded to Hisham’s questions about the ability of the Imams to perform such matters, saying, “Indeed, we inherit the perfection and completion which God descended upon His Prophet, in His words (from the Holy Qur’an), ‘Today I have perfected your religion for you, I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion.’ And the earth is never empty of those who perfect these matters – which others fall short of (perfecting).

  1. The Imam debated with Hisham on the affairs of the Imamate. The Imam defeated Hisham. So, the latter was full of malice towards the former.
  2. The Imam debated with the scholar of the Christians on certain affairs. The Imam also defeated the scholar. So, the Syrians were busy talking about the Imam’s victory over the Christian scholar.
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